Data paints a picture for IWD2019

Two of our last three blogs have shone a spotlight on how data can support good public policy outcomes in the areas of health and income distribution in Australia 

On the eve of International Women’s Day 2019 (IWD2019), I wanted to highlight the importance of data and storytelling as drivers of positive social change for women.

Quantitative and qualitative perspectives on our world help define problems and chart a pathway forward. 

My colleagues at the Office for Women recently collated information for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) drawn from a variety of data sources which tell us a story about domestic, family and sexual violence against women. Data like this provides critical depth to decision making, particularly around understanding the nature of a challenge, its prevalence, and trends. Here are a few sobering highlights:

  • One Australian woman a week was murdered by a current or former partner in the two years from 2012-13 and 2013-14 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) – Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia).
  • One in three Australian women over the age of 15 has experienced violence by a person known to them – around three million women (ABS 4906.0 – Personal Safety, Australia, 2016).
  • 40 percent of Australians think women exaggerate how unequally women are treated (Data from the National Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women Survey 2017, ANRWOS)
  • Intimate partner violence is the greatest health risk for women 25-44 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) – Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia).
  • In 2017-18, the 1800RESPECT service answered almost 100,000 calls about domestic and family violence (Department of Social Services).

I could combine this data with stories from my lived experience to bring this to life for you. Some of the stories would be mine and others of friends and colleagues. I’m not going to tell those stories today. Instead, I’d encourage you on International Women’s Day to ask the women in your life about their experiences.  

If you are moved, horrified, comforted (by the sense of not being alone), well and good. Hearts and minds are needed to effect positive change on the world in which we live. Because we are More Powerful Together.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic or family violence please contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). 1800 RESPECT is a free, confidential online and telephone counselling service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service provides support to people who are experiencing or are at risk of sexual assault or family and domestic violence, as well as those who have experienced this in the past.

For those interested, read COAG’s communique from 12 December 2018 including outcomes from the meeting on reducing violence against women and their children.

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